Monday, 4 January 2010

'A' List? 'Z' List?

It set me thinking, the hyping up of celebrity unveilings for the reality shows - who's 'A' List and who's 'Z' List? Can it be quantified? My beloved Strictly has come in for criticism, with a BBC personage saying they'll pay more for "bigger" stars next year. Do they really need to? I'd never heard of Tom Chambers or Ricky Whittle or Alesha Dixon beforehand - it didn't stop me enjoying them. Would I have enjoyed who the media tell us are the 'A' Listers: Sharon Osborne, Richard Madeley? I doubt it.

From my perspective, they don't come more 'A' List than an undefeated World Champion boxer - but then I'm a sports fan; any one in the world of sport who reaches the pinnacle will be a major celebrity as far as the fans of that sport are concerned.

So how to measure? Well, in the world of sport 'tis easy peasy - are they a world/Olympic champion/number one in their sport? In film and television, are they an Oscar winner/BAFTA winner, do they have the respect of their peers? They to me would be the 'A' Listers. But that's not to say that others without the trophies aren't as valued - that's what lifetime achievement awards are for. And then there are those deemed National Treasures - do they not automatically qualify as 'A' List? The thing is though - they simply don't need the exposure or the money - Sir Steve Redgrave and Dame Helen Mirren are never going to take part. Ever. In the days of old they'd have allowed Morecambe and Wise to send them up, that's as far as it would have gone; M&W themselves the 'A' Listers of their day.

The media however, measure differently - Angelina Jolie is more likely described as sexy/pouty/voluptuous/designer clad Brad Pitt's partner, rather than the award winning actress she is. The Rooneys, the Coles, the Beckhams - all would be considered 'A' List by our press - and all of whom would suffer the same fate as Jordan in the jungle, at the hands of a wickedly vindictive and funny British public! That's the only reason many of us would want to see them in it!

To anyone who isn't into sport or film, whose life may revolve around the music scene now, the names Redgrave and Mirren may mean nothing - but they might adore Lady Sovereign. So is it a purely personal thing?

Tweeting Celebrity Big Brother t'other night showed me this was the case - whilst most of my generation were all for Stephanie and Vinnie, there were a few in my timeline cheering on said Lady Sov - and I'm thinking: Who is she? So a producer for I'm Strictly a Celeb Dancing on Ice has to cast their net wide to appeal to as big an audience as possible - which means you are not going to have heard of everyone.

The questions I ask myself are: Are they unique? Have they achieved something not many others, if any at all, have achieved? Or are they a dime a dozen (wags, topless models - possibly one and the same - soap stars, rich people famous for being rich and famous - you know the sort I mean) or do we prefer familiar faces who have been there, done that and have nothing to prove, who give us good value?

Who I would like to see on Strictly doesn't neccessarily equate to the media vision of 'A' List - I just think they'd be a lot of fun: Gary Barlow - technically an 'A' Lister but a seemingly very down to earth one; Adrian Chiles - the dry wit, the journey man, probably; Sue Barker, giggly but determined sportswoman and Fiona Bruce - who's shown during the newsreader segments in Children in Need that she would be so up for it! I'm sure there'll be more ... feel free to add your own suggestions!


Colin M Jarman said...

Wonderfully witty and pithy, pithily witty, in fact.

But who is the biggest 'name' celeb dancer that has appeared on SCD? ... and for that matter who is the biggest star to ever appear on any UK reality TV show?

Even pithier would to out the least 'big name' celeb ever on a reality show i.e. "how low can a show go"?


jaye said...

I can't think who'd be the biggest name celeb on Strictly! Tarbey?